back to article Elon Musk gets thumbs up from jury for use of 'pedo guy' in cave diver defamation lawsuit

Billionaire Elon Musk did not defame British cave explorer Vernon Unsworth, a Los Angeles jury concluded on Friday. The trial, which began on Tuesday, followed from Unsworth's claim that Musk had defamed him by calling him a "pedo guy" on Twitter last year – a term many took to mean pedophile but Musk insisted meant something …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    WTF?

    Surprised

    I really didn't think he'd get away with that. Strange. Very strange.

    1. Shady

      Re: Surprised

      He got sued in his own backyard by a grumpy looking brit who dared question one of their gods.

      The result was never in doubt

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Surprised

          I've never met a nice white South African.

          The handful of white South Africans I've met in the UK do seem to suggest a wide polarisation of personality type, with some being good company and others very much not so.

          I've no idea whether this is down to ancestry (Anglo as opposed to Boer) but the folks with the lighter accent seem to be more like Australians i.e. down to earth, good sense of humour, fun to be with if you're down the pub, whereas a little time spent with the folks with the heavier, more stereotypical, accent makes you pine for the company of a few Neanderthals* and the associated improvement in wit and pleasantry.

          I think Tom Sharpe was being kind when writing about the latter type (see Riotous Assembly and Indecent Exposure, but not if you have a hernia, you'll split your sides laughing.)

          *Yes, I know that Homo Neanderthalensis has an unfair reputation as a knuckle dragging caveman - in reality Neanderthals were probably as intelligent and technologically adept as our Homo Sapiens ancestors.

          1. macjules Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Surprised

            Well that went right over your head.

            https://youtu.be/fxEweP2TiMk

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Surprised

              You can't put a better bit of Botha on your knife...oi!!!

              An utter classic....

            2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Surprised

              Pieter-Dirk Uys

              https://www.pdu.co.za/

              https://evita.co.za/

              https://evita.co.za/library/

              The South African Satirist was introduced to British TV audiences in the 80's by the recently departed Clive James.

              If you can't get to see him at one of his shows, there is always YouTube...

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpWgLchnurc

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Surprised

            I've no idea whether this is down to ancestry (Anglo as opposed to Boer)

            Experiences I've had with a It floor full of them, is, an often yes, there's a layer of would probably be considered an inappropriate world view in many places, if the surface layer is scratched by alcohol or loss of temper.

          3. G R Goslin

            Re: Surprised

            Or even the present day Homo Sapiens. Although on the example of the present day governing bodies it does seem that Neanderthall man might have a decided advantage in intelligence.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Surprised

            Tom Sharpe, RIP, was part of this foreigner's education in Britishness, and I thoroughly enjoyed not only the books you mentioned, but also the whole Wilt series. This man could make circumstances collide with an unparalleled amount of amusement.

            Epic read, every single book.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Surprised

            I think Tom Sharpe was being kind ...

            Personally, I find that Tom Sharpe was always kind - or more precisely one of the kind - no matter who or what he was writing about. My personal favorite by him will always remain "Blott on the Landscape", but I can't help myself smiling, and occasionally cringing in commiseration with one of his less fortunate heros, when I think of any of his books ...

            I think I might have to pay that particular bookshelf a visit during the lazy days of Christmas.

        2. Robert Grant

          Re: Surprised

          I've never met a nice white South African.

          My wife's a nice South African. Statements like this are just pointless ignorance.

          1. John Doe 12

            Re: Surprised

            Well surely you must be happy that this commentard HASN'T met your wife?! Think of all the follow-on questions you would have. Not to mention the sour atmosphere at the Christmas dinner :-D

          2. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: Surprised

            Robert,

            I impugned Elon Musk as a white South African because that sentence was a 1980s chart hit for a comedy programme called Spitting Image. Elon thinks it's okay to smear a hero caver a paedo so I wanted to call him something worse, and since there is little worse then I went with the comedy angle. Plus it's true Musk was raised under apartheid with a family that enriched itself through a fascist, racist system so it's defensable in a British court.

            Macjules got the reference and posted a link if you don't know it. Even in the song an exception is listed of a nice white South African, and I too have met one or two, although most of them are bores.

            The reason I don't use the Joke Ahead icon is because I find the resulting car crashes funny, and I had an underlying serious point.

            The nicest South Africans I've met are my neighbours who describe themselves as coloured, although I know I can't use that word on the internet to describe them.

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              Re: Coloured

              > who describe themselves as coloured, although I know I can't use that word on the internet to describe them.

              Yes, the internet is becoming increasingly Black & White.

              1. Danny 2 Silver badge

                Re: Coloured

                @W.S.Gosset

                I used to post on The Atlantic before it ended it's comments section, quite a progressive old journal. I was pilloried when I mentioned my coloured neighbours, which is a weird (to me) paradox of politically correct modern language. Americans in particular seem understandably uptight about the word while still using it in certain contexts, and I wasn't aware of that minefield I'd stepped into.

                I was given a pass because my neighbours are South African and refer to themselves as coloured, but that's an old Apartheid classification so I can't use that and don't know how to refer to them. In the US they'd be African American, but we don't refer to people as African British. They are brown skinned Scottish citizens born in South Africa who refer to themselves as coloured and I can't summarise that.

                Someone had criticised me for calling them coloured when they are only one colour, and that is fair enough. Racially I'm Caucasian, white, but actually I'm a different colour everyday depending on the weather and my Raynaud's syndrome. I go blue and purple and orange and pink. I'm like a gamer's keyboard or cheap Christmas tree lights.

                1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

                  Re: Coloured

                  In South Africa in the 1980's, "Coloured" refered to a person of mixed race. Native South Africans were referred to as "Blacks". Collectively they were refered to as "non-whites," (which included all other darker-skinned races). None of those terms were regarded as being impolite - there were plenty of other words if you wanted to be insulting.

                2. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: Coloured

                  and I wasn't aware of that minefield I'd stepped into.

                  Yes.. I had some fun here on El Reg a few months back when pointing out that in NZ it's quite acceptable to refer to Paki's as Paki's, and most do themselves and expect the rest of us to do so as well - after all you're calling them "pure" and it's not a racist term in these parts (and in the Maori language, "Paki" IIRC means a "fine day" so could be taken to mean you think someone has a 'sunny disposition' I guess)

                  Some people really have a knack for getting offended on other people's behalf.

          3. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Surprised

            Statements like this are just pointless ignorance.

            Or a tongue in cheek quote from a 1980s tv puppet show on channel 4.

          4. Ian Johnston

            Re: Surprised

            I've never met a nice white South African.

            My wife's a nice South African. Statements like this are just pointless ignorance.`

            Perhaps the PP has never met your wife.

          5. Jedit Silver badge
            Joke

            "My wife's a nice South African."

            You're married to Breyten Breytenbach?

          6. tapemonkey

            Re: Surprised

            Yes just look at Oscar Pistorius he is a very nice man, a very very nice man indeed

        3. Stork Silver badge

          Re: Surprised

          I have met two! And that is a very substantial proportion of the white South Africans I have ever met.

        4. TimMaher Bronze badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Surprised

          I think people have misunderstood the ‘misquote’ as the commentards haven’t watched “Spitting Image”.

          Hence the large number of downvotes.

          I am right aren’t I @Danny? That was the song that you meant?

          About the same time as the fabulous “I’ll be watching you” re-write.

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: Surprised

            @Tim,

            I think I'm posting with friends here, but all my actual friends are my age. In retrospect I understand why a reference to a topical comedy show that hasn't broadcast in 30 years would be missed by many.

            1. macjules Silver badge

              Re: Surprised

              I gather it is making a comeback. Only I should think that they will have a problem with Trump: every time they come up with something outrageous to say about Trump he has already done it himself.

              1. OssianScotland Silver badge

                Re: Surprised

                Not to mention being his own puppet

                1. Sir Gaz of Laz

                  Re: Surprised

                  Now I have a vision of him with his hand up his own arse.

                  Shudder.

              2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

                Re: Surprised

                "I gather it is making a comeback. "

                Sort of - it's going to be American so it will be muted by the standard of what the 'Mercans laughingly call humour. I'll never forgive the Yanks for what they did to Faulty Towers and still dared to suggest their version was vaguely amusing.

                For those who are too young, in the UK Spitting Image (SI) was not a comedy but a TV extension of satirical political cartoons and was very, very hard on its subjects. Initially appalled by their inclusion, as SI's popularity increased, many public figures actively sought to be satirised by the show ... strange but true.

                The Brits never considered the Queen Mother (Gawd Bless 'Er) to be a gin swilling gambler until SI told them she was. John Major was not really a pea-loving, grey person. And, from personal experience, only geeks loved their "RS232 Interface Lead" :-)

                1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

                  RS 232 interface lead

                  "only geeks loved their "RS232 Interface Lead" :-) "

                  Ah, another classic that has withstood the test of time, still not quite superceded by USB.

                2. Gio Ciampa
                  Pint

                  Re: Surprised

                  "RS232 Interface Lead"

                  Thanks for the earworm...

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Surprised

                    Thanks for the earworm...

                    Pah! I read RS232 and remembered the mantra.. 2,3,7 and 4,5,6 & 20, and 22 for a modem. Many RS232/V.24 cables I have made, tested and cursed! Think I still have a breakout box, monitor and pin tools somewhere :p

                3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                  Re: Surprised

                  satirical political cartoons and was very, very hard on its subjects

                  Apparently, Maggie was much amused by her portrayal on SI. And (for some people) appearing on SI was a cause for pride because it meant that they had Made It..

                  1. Dagg

                    Re: Surprised

                    Maggie was much amused by her portrayal on SI

                    Especially around the interactions between her and her cabinet.

                    Waiter: "And how do you want your steak"

                    Maggie: "Raw"

                    Waiter: "And what about the vegetables"

                    Maggie (looking at cabinet): "They'll have the same"

          2. Efer Brick

            Re: Surprised

            That's not bloody surprising, mate

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Surprised

          I've never met a nice white South African.

          Thanks for the reference, I missed that one at first :)

          As for taking that factually, we all know better, of course. Case in point: Mark Shuttleworth (IMHO, of course).

      2. Mage Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Surprised

        Would have been different if the case was in the UK.

        Or if the defendant was a poor black guy and it was somewhere in the Southern USA?

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Surprised

      There is no way that English courts would have allowed it.

      1. Imhotep

        Re: Surprised

        The laws in fhe UK are different than those in the US. There is a comment by a lawyer on this topic on ArsTechnica that does a pretty good job of summarizing the issues.

      2. Time Waster

        Re: Surprised

        Perhaps, though I suspect they may have questioned the 190 million in damages.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Surprised

        Judging by the pictures - the UK does have better court room artists!

    3. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: Surprised

      Will, surprised the wealthy have a different set of rules to the rest of us ? Where have you been ?

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Surprised

        "Will, surprised the wealthy have a different set of rules to the rest of us ? Where have you been ?"

        Wealthy American versus poor foreigner. Of course the jury found for the American. The evidence (which is overwhelming) is irrelevant in American vs foreigner cases.

        This is why I'm not in favour of an extradition treaty with the US. If they want to convict someone, do it over here, and then you can have them. But definitely not a trial in the US.

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Re: Surprised

          America gives you the best justice money can buy

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Surprised

        This has nothing to do with being wealthy. The standards for defamation, slander, and libel in the US are much, much harder to meet than in the UK. It's very unlikely a US jury would find for the plaintiff over a social-media insult, and if did, the decision would likely be overturned on appeal (on the grounds of incorrect instruction to the jury, probably).

        And that's a Good Thing, regardless of how much of an ass1 Musk is. Aggressive libel laws have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and historically are far more available to the wealthy and powerful. They are fundamentally anti-democratic. We've seen plenty of examples of the offensive use of UK libel law to squelch valid speech.

        1I.e., all of one. As ass as possible.

    4. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Re: Surprised

      I really didn't think he'd get away with that.

      Nothing strange about it. It is to be expected.

      The American "justice system" is really, to be polite to the Americans, "weird".

      Look at HPE vs Autonomy: The US DoJ is now thinking of extraditing Mike Lynch because it is now beginning to show that he is going to walk away with a slap on the wrist.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Surprised

        The American "justice system" is really, to be polite to the Americans, "weird".

        I get the sense that revenge plays a significant part in the US justice system.

    5. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Surprised

      Not surprising at all. Under US law the comment was clearly protected free speech. The verdict has nothing to do with favouritism. It only has a little to do with money: any competent lawyer would have got that result but lack of a competent lawyer might not have. Musk has sufficient money that he can waste it on legal fees and is sufficiently out of touch with reality that he is convinced he won something.

      An apology would have been much cheaper and have been a partial step towards healing the massive damage he did to his own credibility and reputation. That "My faith in humanity is restored" rubbish shows he does not realise he is already neck deep in a PR shit hole and I am sure he embarrass with more arsehole behaviour even though it is long past time to stop digging. Perhaps he can avoid a fine for his next "funding secured" tweet with an "everyone knows my tweets are even less factual than Trump's" defence.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Surprised

        Not surprising at all. Under US law the comment was clearly protected free speech.

        But US law (and other countries) can also have a concept of 'fighting words', which are exemptions to protected free speech. See-

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaplinsky_v._New_Hampshire

        Ok, so times have changed and calling someone a facist can now be seen as socially acceptable, rightly or wrongly.

        The verdict has nothing to do with favouritism.

        I suspect it did given Musk's celebrity status. Downside is if it also means calling someone a paedophile should now be as acceptable as calling them facist. Or if false accusations of paedophilia should be considered 'fighting words' given it's a pretty grave insult. Especially if others take the accusation seriously, in which case it can and has resulted in serious harm.

        1. jonathan keith Silver badge

          Re: Surprised

          I never fail to be surprised at how little understanding there seems to be about US "Free Speech". Musk's Twitter post was absolutely not 'protected free speech'.

          All that the First Amendment does (with regard to freedom of speech) is prevent the US or State governments from passing laws that restrict citizens' or the Press's rights to freedom of speech (caveat: with a very limited number of specific exemptions).

          It absolutely does not prevent non-government organisations from imposing limits to the freedom of speech on platforms they might provide... Twitter or Reddit, for example, are entirely within their rights to impose on their userbase any limit to free speech that they might see fit (on the proviso that those policies aren't themselves illegal by being discriminatory, for instance.)

          The other thing that many people seem to ignore is the fact that while your right to speak freely might be Constitutionally protected, the Constitution doesn't make any provision to protect you from the consequences of your words. *

          * That appears to be left to the US justice system: "The best justice money can buy™."

          1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

            Re: Surprised

            @jonathon keith ably demonstrates the truth of his first sentence!

            The snag with Mr. Keith's "analysis" is that suing someone for defamation requires a government action (the trial). So while Twitter is perfectly free to restrict speech (as he correctly but irrelevantly states), in this instance they didn't, and therefore the speech (the tweet) as uttered, and the government got involved when the lawsuit was filed.

            As a matter of law (as of yesterday) the tweet _was_ protected speech (per the jury, whose votes are the ones that counts). Apparently the crux of the matter is that _in isolation_ nothing Musk wrote could be directly tied to the plaintiff, and therefore it's not possible for a reasonable person to assume that Musk's assertion was a claimed statement of fact (as opposed to opinion) and therefore his tweet was a non-factual opinion not capable of being assessed as "true" or "false", therefore it could not be defamatory.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Surprised

              "that suing someone for defamation requires a government action (the trial)."

              Really? A civil suit heard by a jury is a government action?

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Surprised

                A civil suit heard by a jury is a government action?

                Who do you think runs the courts and enforces their decisions? McDonald's?

            2. jonathan keith Silver badge

              Re: Surprised

              The only effect that the trial has had on Musk's tweet is that it is now a matter of public record. It doesn't alter the status of its First Amendment protections at all.

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Surprised

                You, sir, are a master of the irrelevant argument. My hat's off to you.

            3. Blank Reg

              Re: Surprised

              So I guess we can now assign musk the new nickname "Pedo guy" and use it freely since there will be no repercussions for doing so.

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Surprised

                Correct. In the US, there would be no legal danger of doing so.

            4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Surprised

              So while Twitter is perfectly free to restrict speech (as he correctly but irrelevantly states), in this instance they didn't

              Exactly correct. Your seven downvoters are presumably people who prefer to remain ignorant.

              The question here was whether Musk's expression violated US libel law. US libel law is highly constrained because the First Amendment limits the government's ability to restrict expression. In this sense, which is the only sense that matters for this trial, Musk's statement was indeed "protected speech". It did not achieve the high standards required for civil action, and those standards follow from the Constitutional protection of expression.

              No one with decent representation should lose a trial over something like this; and if they did, the decision would almost certainly be overturned at appeal. An insult, even in public, even an allegation of criminal activity, simply is not in itself libelous in the US. A Twitter fight isn't going to be the grounds for overturning decades of jurisprudence.

        2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Re: Surprised

          Dear gawd; the "fighting words" except has categorically no relevance here. It applies _only_ when the words are _likely_ to cause an _imminent_ breach of the peace. There's no chance that a tweet sent by a guy in California apparently directed at a guy in Thailand would cause any breach, let alone an imminent.

          And if someone mentioned crowded theaters, I'm going to have to have a lie down.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Surprised

            And if someone mentioned crowded theaters, I'm going to have to have a lie down.

            Sooo... If someone in a crowded theatre calls me a facist, can I punch them, or not?* Otherwise I mentioned it as an example where there are exemptions to 'free speech', and because the concept intrigues me. I've yet to find a handy list of 'fighting words' for visitors to the US though.

            But the rest is down to defamation I guess. I still thing there are problems with the verdict given it may make it seem acceptable and trivialise calling someone a paedo.. Especially given the recent murder case in the UK.

            *Ok, so if someone called me a paedo, I may be tempted to point out to the accuser that I'd grab them by the ankles, stick my feet in their armpits and use them as an improvised pogo-stick. I've found that can be a handy way to avoid conflict, A/GBH charges, and legal fees.. :p

            1. veti Silver badge

              Re: Surprised

              Is a facist one who believes in discrimination against the excessively ugly?

              1. Louis Schreurs

                Re: Surprised

                fascist with an s

              2. Cartimand

                Re: Surprised

                "Fascist" is one of the most overused and misused terms.

                The farther of modern fascism Mussolini defined it as :

                "All within the State.

                Nothing outside the State.

                Nothing against the State."

                In other words, fascism is all about growing the state, at the expense of individual liberty.

                Best way to oppose fascism? Never vote for any party seeking to grow the state.

                1. Cartimand

                  Re: Surprised

                  Oops "father" not farther!

                2. Rich 11 Silver badge

                  Re: Surprised

                  Never vote for any party seeking to grow the state.

                  So if a party proposes a new law to improve air quality standards, you'd be against it?

                  1. Cartimand

                    Re: Surprised

                    "if a party proposes a new law to improve air quality standards, you'd be against it?"

                    Better be safe than sorry and I would tend to err on the side of libertarianism rather than totalitarianism.

                    We may be coughing our guts up, but at least we wouldn't be living under fascism!

                3. veti Silver badge

                  Re: Surprised

                  So, that would be - like describing political opponents (= opposed to the state) as "traitors" or "enemies of the people", then?

            2. Robert D Bank
              Pint

              Re: Surprised

              I cannot stop laughing at your last sentence...what a picture. My old ladder is struggling to hold. Pint on me.

        3. Louis Schreurs

          Re: Surprised

          It’s faScist. And racist, without s. I used to write racist with an s like fascist is. But it is racist and fascist.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Surprised

            It’s faScist. And racist, without s. I used to write racist with an s like fascist is. But it is racist and fascist.

            See? This is why I need a handy list of fighting words. Preferably laminated, or at least washable. But I think spelling it with 2 S's makes it worse.. Could also make do with no S's at all*

            *give or take abusing conjugation.

        4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Surprised

          But US law (and other countries) can also have a concept of 'fighting words'

          The US "fighting words" exception is narrowly construed and requires a reasonable chance of inciting actual violence. No court would have found it applicable in this case.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Surprised

        Free speech bullshit.

        Freedom in the Andrew Finch sense of the word.

        Speech is free but if you cause damage with it then it should cost. Same as walking is free but if I walked on someone’s face then I would expect consequences. You have free speech but are responsible for the consequences. It’s not a license to be a cunt.

        1. The Dogs Meevonks

          Re: Surprised

          When it comes to Musk... I find he's pretty much 50% cunt and 50% wacko with ideas that he cannot implement and so throws as many far fetched things out into the world as possible and let some one else work out how to do it. he then claims the moral high ground for his 'idea' that he's taken from other people and simply got wider attention because of his billionaire celebrity status.

          It's no different from Jobs trying to claim that he/apple invented everything they made... when the reality/facts say otherwise... He's just got a better Marketing/PR dept.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Surprised

            I watched a couple of episodes of "Young Sheldon" - didn't find it funny at all, so stopped watching The only part I found funny was when Musk appeared on it as himself. Long story short - he was claiming credit for successful rocket landing using work that young Sheldon had created. Can't help wondering how accurate that is....

        2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Re: Surprised

          OK... so what damage was done? (A: none) Did the plaintiff react in a way that indicated that he had been damaged by the tweet? (A: no). The smart thing to do would be to calmly assert that the epithet was childish (and of course false), and possibly wonder why Musk's mind turns in that direction? ... with a girlfriend 18 years his junior, who knows what that might indicate???

    6. N2 Silver badge

      Re: Surprised

      All to do with the $190 Million,

      Had he asked for $500K it might have been different.

    7. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

      Re: Surprised

      I really didn't think he'd get away with that.

      Whyever not?

      Under any sane legal system, it would never have come to trial. Libel should be reserved for cases where there's not merely something potentially-defamatory said, but an expectation that third-parties might take the remark seriously causing them to believe ill of the subject. Did anyone here take some dumb tweet in earnest and believe [sorry, I've forgotten his name] was a pedophile?

      Noone's name has been defamed. We get to point and laugh at Musk and at the absurd legal processes, but they demonstrably deserve it. As for the guy who fed the lawyers so richly - well, he's demonstrated a level of idiocy comparable to those who handed their money to this guy.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Surprised

        It's a wider smear against anyone of European descent who settles and marries in Thailand, and this against Thailand and Thais too.

        I knew an old guy who I heard had died in Thailand and I tracked his posts posthumously on English language forums. Occasionally the Thai Bride / White Paedo slur would be raised, and he'd always challenge it. Like most people there he was married to someone ages with him, actually older than the Scottish wife he'd divorced.

        Strange reading someone's thoughts after their death when I hadn't spoken to him in decades, I could still recognise him from his thoughts on all manner of subjects - except when I knew him he was a republican, and in Thailand he never once mentioned monarchy.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Surprised

        "Noone's name has been defamed."

        False. Why hire a private dick if he wasn't trying to prove it?

        This is the smoking gun. He's guilty as sin. Should have sued in the UK.

      3. veti Silver badge

        Re: Surprised

        The "don't take it seriously" defence might have flown, if Musk hadn't followed up by doubling down on the insult in further tweets and emails that showed he was very much in earnest.

        As it was, I can only put the verdict down to Musk's money, status and home-ground advantage.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Surprised

        "Noone's name has been defamed"

        Musk described the chap as "pedo guy", and when interviewed later is supposed to have said, "I bet you a signed dollar it's true". To most people that looks like doubling-down and potentially libelous.

    8. regregular

      Re: Surprised

      The decision was in the hands of 12 people who were too dumb or lazy to find a way out of jury duty.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Surprised

        One difference between the US and Europe, including the UK as I write, is jury trials. Most US trials have a jury, most trials in Europe don't.

        Top 10 Facts About AMERICA That Make NO SENSE to Anyone Else

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Surprised

          I thought that link might be interesting , until i realised it was a youtube top ten,

          done by a channel named TopTenz no less,

          So i'm assuming its going to be long drawn out , less than interesting clickbait, and refrain.

          If anyone does watch it please let me know if it was any good.

          1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

            Re: Surprised

            TopTenz is in fact far better than it's name would suggest. It's basically a QI for the Youtube generation but with more serial killers.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: Surprised

              ok , you talked me into it. here's the results so u dont have to!

              toddlers shoot 1 person per week

              beastilality legal in 10 states

              highest paid public employee is a sports coach (39 states)

              50% of Americanc dont have a passport

              30% prefer save money to vital med treatment

              7 states have child custody rights for rapists

              more self identified patriots than any other country

              americans are more likely to get bitten by other americans than by rats

              Americans take fast food extremely literally (3rd fastest eaters)

              Gov departments have official advice for elvis sightings

              1. Danny 2 Silver badge

                Re: Surprised

                My apology, I linked to the wrong one. The one I intended to link to had an explanation of how jury trials are relatively rare in Europe but normal in the US.

      2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        Re: Surprised

        Or, and hear me out here, 12 people who believed that the only defense against being wrongly sentenced for crimes you didn't commit is the integrity of juries?

        The "too dumb to get out of jury duty" trope is disgusting, a typical "every man for himself" selfish assertion.

    9. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      Re: Surprised

      Gosh, next they'll be over here driving on the wrong side of the road, killing people and scarpering back home knowing their legal system will protect them. Oh, wait...

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Surprised

        That episode had nothing to do with the US legal system (which has never considered the case for a minute, and probably never will), and everything to do with diplomacy (read: politics).

    10. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Surprised

      There's an interesting video from my favorite YT lawyer here-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jialiehiuk

      Discussing the verdict and the legalities, including things like defamation per se/per quod and how that fits with California law.

  2. Sleep deprived

    What did you expect

    The current US president insults about everyone daily on Twitter. Why would a brilliant US entrepreneur like Musk not be allowed to do the same?

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: What did you expect

      Why would a brilliant US entrepreneur like Musk not be allowed to do the same?

      His brilliance may be overrated. He may also have been lucky. So 12 kids + coach trapped in a cave. Brilliant plan was to shut kids into a large cigar tube and hope that could be manhandled through tight cave passages. Meanwhile, cave rescue specialists, dive experts and medics were already on-scene and working on the rescue.

      One neat aspect (and also risky) was anaesthetising the kids. That way, the divers could manipulate & guide them through the passages. Plus have an ability to monitor their status. Not so easy to do if the kids were packed inside a rigid metal tube. They'd still probably have needed to be anaesthetised to stop them panicking, but their packaging would have made it a lot harder to re-anaesthetise. The 'mini-sub' would have also needed the usual sub-type systems, like bouyancy control, air regulation, exhaust, maybe CO2 scrubbing etc etc.

      So Musk's plan could have easily failed, potentially resulting in kid's death(s), especially if the tube ended up blocking the passage. Cave diving is high on my list of things not to do given it's f'ng dangerous, without adding untried/untested rescue methods, no matter how well intentioned the inventor may have been.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What did you expect

        The "sub" was a full-body face mask. It did not need any of those things. No scrubber, no buoyancy control (just adjust the weight to match the displacement), add a bleed port to let air escape. The deepest it was going was a few feet. They could put an ordinary regulator inside for the kid to regulate the breathing, but the trip between air pockets was not very long, so I'm not sure that's required. Because there can be multiple taps, they could switch air tanks without interrupting the air flow.

        What it would not need is constant supervision to make cure it had not shifted a little bit the way the masks did and it would not need the diver to constantly be feeling around in the murk to make sure the kid's heads weren't being bounced off of the cave walls.

        The actual rescue method was 100% untried. Which is why the divers demanded a full pardon in advance for the potential that all the team members would die.

        It wasn't Musk's brilliance at work. It was the same engineers who have been able to design and build vehicles that launch into space and return to the launch area.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: What did you expect

          The "sub" was a full-body face mask. It did not need any of those things. No scrubber, no buoyancy control (just adjust the weight to match the displacement), add a bleed port to let air escape.

          Well, that's bouyancy control. But the coffin-tube would have needed some form of air quality sensing because it's not as simple as just adding a 'bleed port'. Kid would have been inhaling a gas mix, and exhaling CO2. A simple pressure regulating system could have maintained a constant pressure inside the coffin, but would still need to deal with the CO2 buildup.

          As for depth, the rescuers had to navigate sumps. I don't know what the depth of those legs were, but that would have affected the gas regulation. Plus the kids were already hypoxic, adding to the challenge of calculating gas mix(s). That's one of the hazards of cave diving, ie depth of sumps, or depth in general given that affects partial pressure even in dry sections. Getting those calculations wrong kills divers when they get narc'd, disoriented and die.

          What it would not need is constant supervision to make cure it had not shifted a little bit the way the masks did and it would not need the diver to constantly be feeling around in the murk to make sure the kid's heads weren't being bounced off of the cave walls.

          Sure.. It would just have meant the rescue divers having to manipulate a rigid coffin plus tanks through some tight passages and against a strong current. Alternatively, the divers could see the kid, check the mask, see bubbles to show they were still breathing and manipulate a floppy child as needed. As for head protection, that's as simple as fitting the kid with a helmet or padded head protector.

          The actual rescue method was 100% untried. Which is why the divers demanded a full pardon in advance for the potential that all the team members would die.

          I think it was 'requested' rather than demanded, and was because sedating the kids so they didn't panic was the risky part, and why Drs Harris & Challen supervised that given both were very experienced cave divers and physicians.. Unlike Musk.

          But Musk avoided some potential headlines like "Musk's mini-sub torpedoes cave rescue, 18 dead". Even with immunity, that would obviously be quite a reputational hit.

        2. Caver_Dave
          Boffin

          Re: What did you expect

          Musk's submarine was stupid because no-one bothered to find out anything about the cave. In parts the divers had to squeeze through very narrow (body sized) gaps and around bends, both of which the submarine could not have done. (There is a reason cave divers carry their bottles with the pillar valves under their arm pits, but they still had to remove the bottles to get through one squeeze.)

          Let's not forget that Vern's comment about "shoving it where the sun doesn't shine" was after many hours of exhausting work in the cave, followed by badgering by people who believed Musk's hype and were demanding to know why the submarine was not being used.

          In any cave rescue, clear, calm heads and actions are required, even more so when working at the absolute limits underwater. (Note the death of the Navy Seal; expert diver, but not cave diver- RIP.)

          The further the hysterical press and PR seeking 'do-gooders' are kept away, the better. (The number one benefit of allowing the US forces in to provide logistic support was to keep this circus away from the rescuers.)

          My thoughts on Musk's tweet:

          If Musk had not tweeted and you had looked up Vern on t'internet you would have found "initial organiser and local expert in the greatest cave rescue. Presented with an MBE by the Queen."

          What you find now nearly always contains the word "pedo".

          This has totally ruined the public perception of him and so in my view he should receive damages.

          Ex. casualty care specialist with a cave rescue group and SRT rescue trainer.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: What did you expect

            Ex. casualty care specialist with a cave rescue group and SRT rescue trainer.

            I thank you for your service. I did open-water and some wreck diving up to mixed gas & rebreather and was thinking about trying cave diving. Luckily I discovered I worked with a very experienced diver/caver and had some great conversations about the unique risks, challenges and what a 'suicide clip' is... And pointed me at some dive videos of Florida's infamous 'Eagle's Nest'.. Which despite having a big warning sign inside, people ignored it and needed other divers to go do body recovery.

            So I decided to stick to open water.

            I think it's one of those strange hobbies though, ie the best people to perform rescues are the participants, ie BCRC etc given they've got the experience and knowledge. And also the way the Thai Navy modified their training after the death of one of their divers given there's probably not much military need for cave diving, other than assisting with rescues.

    2. Sleep deprived
      Happy

      Re: What did you expect

      It looks like I got downvoted for forgetting to put brilliant between quotes. My irony went unnoticed.

      1. Louis Schreurs

        Re: What did you expect

        Now forget some tiny characters when scripting. You’ll get some punishment, perhaps only by the debugging department.

    3. Jr4162

      Re: What did you expect

      In the US, A sitting president can't be sued by the electorate.

  3. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    M̶u̶s̶k̶ Money talks

  4. vagabondo

    Musk told reporters, "My faith in humanity is restored."

    Does this mean that he thinks it would be OK for another vehicle manufacturer to launch a fake news campaign that trashed Tesla's sales and made Elon Musk a persona non grata in US society?

    1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

      Re: Musk told reporters, "My faith in humanity is restored."

      At the very least we can call him a paedo with impunity.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Musk told reporters, "My faith in humanity is restored."

      "Tesla: by paedos, for paedos"

      Musk couldn't complain

  5. DenTheMan

    One simple reason..

    JohnnyForeigner.

    Welcome to the new old US of A. A is for ****hole.

    1. Louis Schreurs

      Re: One simple reason..

      U$A

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shocker

    A jury packed with ”sister fuckers" isn't going to find "paedo guy" very defamatory.

  7. Adair

    Only in America* (TM)

    * Other hubristic moral swamps are available.

  8. Natalie Gritpants Jr

    Can I now refer to his muskiness as a p***-guy because I find him creepy?

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Yes. you can call him pedo since in his mind there's nothing wrong with it.

      1. a pressbutton Silver badge

        in musk's mind

        ... a pedo guy is someone who walks

        In some parts of the US, that is a pretty nasty thing to say.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: in musk's mind

          that's interesting, I wasn't sure what he might have meant

          HOWEVER, there are a couple of things that have come out of this case that are important:

          a) free speech

          b) "deep pocket" victims of frivolous lawsuits

          A defamation claim of millions of dollars is ludicrous and obvious greed. A public apology might have been more appropriate. Who knows Musk might have done something cool in the guy's favor if he'd just simply said "hey, I don't like being called a pedophile, why are you doing this?" on the twitter feed. THEN Musk might have had a chance to apologize or explain.

          But NOOOooo... rich guy Musk is a "deep pocket" target for lawyers to EXPLOIT, and *THAT* is at the center of the problem.

          hyper-sensitive snowflakes notwithstanding...

          1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

            Re: in musk's mind

            No Musk is an abusive little child, who insulted a good man in a very defamatory way.

          2. Velv Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: in musk's mind

            Musk apologised, Unsworth accepted the public apology. Then Musk cam back for more and continued his assertions, Unsworth had no option but to pursue though he courts.

            Perhaps the value was too high, and a more amicable settlement could have been reached but Musk refused to engage. $10million to Cave Diving Rescue and a public apology might have made it, but no, Musk believes he's above that.

      2. Steve Evans

        Yes, go for it, it's a common phrase in South Africa where he grew up...

        ... at least in his house...

        ... When his father was at home...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK

    Well, if it's OK to insult anyone you want here's one for you Musky you fat cunt (that's not the insult).

    This is, "Jou ma was nie genaai nie, jou pa het in haar poes gekak."

    You're welcome.

  10. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    Facepalm

    No winners in this one

    1) Musk's a nutbar

    2) $190m damages claim is laughable

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: No winners in this one

      "2) $190m damages claim is laughable"

      It isn't. Damages should be a disincentive. Musk is worth $10bn, so that's <2% of his worth.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: No winners in this one

        seriously, $$$million for "being called a name" ?

        Worse things have been said about me on the playground when I was in school... and that's the point - being a hypersensitive snowflake and then getting REWARDED for it [well the lawyers will be rewarded] because Musk is a "deep pocket rich guy" is *WORSE* for society than any of the alternatives.

        similarly, treating people different because of how much money they make is *DISCRIMINATORY*. Think about it. Next you'll be wanting to charge MORE MONEY for a loaf of bread if you earn millions per year...

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: No winners in this one

          "Worse things have been said about me on the playground when I was in school... "

          Yes. Children are below the age of criminal responsibility. Did they also hire private investigators to try to substantiate their insults when it became clear they were libellous?

          "similarly, treating people different because of how much money they make is *DISCRIMINATORY*. "

          I'm not. I'm saying that a punishment should be a percentage of your income/net worth. To do otherwise would be to say that because you are rich the law needn't bother you. Which would be, erm, discriminatory.

          This should apply to all offences, e.g., motoring offences. They should be dependent on income and wealth.

          "Next you'll be wanting to charge MORE MONEY for a loaf of bread if you earn millions per year..."

          No. Goods and services should be the same price for all people. But obviously, duh, the law is not a service. A punishment should be the same for all people, and so a parking fine should hurt all people equally. Since anybody of means can laugh at a parking fine, they are, de facto, above parking law. This is clearly unfair, and against the central (albeit laughable) tenet that all are equal before the law.

          1. TonyJ Silver badge

            Re: No winners in this one

            "...e.g., motoring offences. They should be dependent on income and wealth...."

            They are. At least some of them here in the UK.

            One "celebrity" was fined £86,000 for a drink driving offence as a % of his income that was designed to make him think twice about doing it again.

            Happy to help.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: No winners in this one

              @TonyJ

              Re:"...dependent on income and wealth...."

              Really?

              Just remind us again how much Prince Phillip was fined?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No winners in this one

          Adults are expected to be more responsible - their comments carry weight.

          Musk calling you a pædophile would I'm sure effect you more, Bob, than some playground insult.

          P.S. Free speech doesn't give you the right to slander or libel someone.

      2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        Re: No winners in this one

        There's a clue in the name: DAMAGES. If this guy was damaged to the tune of $190m, he did a lousy job of demonstrating that!

        Civil lawsuits are intended to "make good", not penalize. Under no circumstances is penalizing speech a good idea, because the intent is to NOT impede any speech up and to the point of damage.

  11. _LC_ Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    courts and justice in the US, it's a (medieval) joke *spilling hot coffee*

    Now every journalist should refer to Musk as "the known pedophile", whenever there is a mention of Tesla.

    Do you read me, DaRegister?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: courts and justice in the US, it's a (medieval) joke *spilling hot coffee*

      if you sp8illed McDonalds hot coffee in your lap, you could extort $million from them just like someone else did a while back...

      1. Efer Brick

        Re: courts and justice in the US, it's a (medieval) joke *spilling hot coffee*

        You should check the facts on the McDonald's story, not go by internet folklore.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: courts and justice in the US, it's a (medieval) joke *spilling hot coffee*

        That, by the way, is libellous, since it's definitely untrue (check it out, as another poster said) and defamatory (the word extort rarely has cuddly connotations).

        The coffee was served at 90 degrees Celsius at a drive through, and she suffered third-degree burns. She only asked for medical bills to be covered.

        1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

          Re: courts and justice in the US, it's a (medieval) joke *spilling hot coffee*

          Yeah, no one should get hot coffee.

        2. jason 7 Silver badge

          Re: courts and justice in the US, it's a (medieval) joke *spilling hot coffee*

          Apparently it was far hotter than that. Plus it had been reported a few times that the coffee machine was faulty and serving it way hotter than was safe.

          1. _LC_ Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: courts and justice in the US, it's a (medieval) joke *spilling hot coffee*

            One is tempted to think that cows have more sense than that...

            Just never go to Italy, Greece, Turkey or any other place. Here, we are using Celsius for the temperature. 100°C is the temperature of boiling water. There's a reason for that: Water can't get any hotter, else it evaporates. ;-)

            Coffee is served hot. Tea is served hot. So are many other things. It's left up to you to leave it for cooling. They don't serve hot stuff to little children, though. Maybe there's your angle...

            1. jason 7 Silver badge

              Re: courts and justice in the US, it's a (medieval) joke *spilling hot coffee*

              Yeah this was served too hot. They had been warned.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAzMMKIspPQ

              Plenty of other stuff on this.

              Basically this case is twisted by corporations to try to push for tighter tort reform so ordinary folks cannot take any corporation to court for anything.

              1. _LC_ Silver badge

                Re: courts and justice in the US, it's a (medieval) joke *spilling hot coffee*

                As much as I hate MD, there are two sides to it. You can safely assume that for every “coffee burn victim” there are thousands of people complaining that their coffee was too cold, as it cools down relatively fast and many prefer to drink it REALLY hot.

                Hence, this is the typical situation, where you just can't do it right.

                As for the granny in the passenger seat: she pretty much did everything wrong. Perhaps she should have been taken better care of/received advise. There's the saying that old people sometimes behave like children.

  12. Jemma Silver badge

    Inbredistan

    Kill them all and let God sort it out. The sooner they're out of the gene pool the better for the human race.

    What the Electric Peanut just did can and has gotten innocent people tortured and MURDERED. More to the point this has now made deformation of character and slander perfectly legal under US law*.

    The Electric Peanut and all his works should be banned with immediate effect in the UK. The cars are not advantageous to the environment - unless everyone is using solar & nuclear fusion and even then they're more polluting than a good clean diesel - don't believe me? Look up SF6..

    *For a given value of the term, unless you have a good lawyer

    1. Twanky Bronze badge

      Re: Inbredistan

      I'd up-vote for pointing out that this sort of insult can get people killed through vigilantism - but down-vote for the exhortation to mass murder - so you can have neither from me.

      What this case does show is that playground mentality insulting taunts are commonplace on Twitter and the like and are not believed or taken seriously by Californian jurors (my opinion is that very few DO take these seriously - even if they pretend to in order to justify a lynching). Please could politicians throughout the world take note and stop using these ridiculous platforms - almost nobody takes you seriously when you do.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Inbredistan

        "I'd up-vote for pointing out that this sort of insult can get people killed through vigilantism

        Yes, and it probably helps if people don't get paediatrician confused with paedophile too.

        (just remember to take a lot of the added fiction with a pinch of salt when digging out the facts)

    2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: Inbredistan

      This is asinine, obviously, but I wanted to draw attention to the concept of deformation of character.

      (Mind you, Jemma seems unaware that there are _different_ types of pollution... )

  13. macjules Silver badge

    Pedo-guy?

    Could El Reg now substitute 'Pedo Guy' for 'Musk' in every article that mentions him? I only suggest that since I have always found him to be rather sinister and creepy.

    1. N2 Silver badge

      Re: Pedo-guy?

      ...sinister and creepy.

      +1 from me

    2. Steve Crook

      Re: Pedo-guy?

      Why not. Or, perhaps, Elon 'pedo guy' Musk

    3. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Pedo-guy?

      Could El Reg now substitute 'Pedo Guy' for 'Musk' in every article that mentions him? I only suggest that since I have always found him to be rather sinister and creepy.

      I think the 'Pedo Guy' Guy' is more accurate.

    4. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Pedo-guy?

      Could El Reg now substitute 'Pedo Guy' for 'Musk' in every article that mentions him? I only suggest that since I have always found him to be rather sinister and creepy.

      Besides that, it takes one to know one! If he can describe somebody as a pedo guy without never having met him before, he just must be a pedo guy himself and I bow to his superior, personal knowledge on the subject.

      1. ThadiasVonBasterd

        Re: Pedo-guy?

        You could make a browser extension to do so? There is one out there that turns every image on every site into Nicholas Cage so i'm sure one that turns "must" into "pedo guy" wouldnt be too hard to bodge together.

        https://addons.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/addon/niccage/

    5. Def Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Pedo-guy?

      Muskapedo.

      1. Robert D Bank

        Re: Pedo-guy?

        don't give him ideas, next thing that will be on the market as a new scent.

    6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Pedo-guy?

      Or perhaps refer to his well known social data-grabbing site as 'Pedobook' or 'PaedoBook'? That should get the customers flicking in. "are you on Paedobook?" or the sec-offenders register?

      No, that would be nasty. But not libellous!

      1. jeffdyer

        Re: Pedo-guy?

        You're thinking of Mark Zuckerberg surely.

    7. Ordinary Donkey

      Re: Pedo-guy?

      I have no strong opinions about Pedo-guy Elon Musk, but let's go there.

    8. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Pedo-guy?

      Fully supported here. Get onto it Vultures!

  14. Teiwaz Silver badge

    The defence 'Smart Move', the JDart

    A JDart, lawyer Alex Spiro explained, meant: a Joke that was badly received, therefore Deleted, with an Apology and then Responsive Tweets to move on from the matter. JDart.

    The Jury were clearly bamboozled by another Wookiee* defence here. As it doesn't really make sense when you consider later then hiring a Scamartist Private Eye to 'dig up dirt', and the 'bet you a dollar it's true comment'.

    1. Velv Silver badge

      "Deleted, with an Apology and then Responsive Tweets"

      Except he didn't, he came back for more afterwards. Prosecution lawyers failed to make that clear

  15. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Whether it was a common term in South Africa or not, Musk has lived in the US long enough to know that calling someone a 'pedo guy' infers your accusing him of Paedophilia.

    If Vernon Unsworth had brought a liable case against Musk in the UK I have no doubt Musk would have been found to have liabled Unsworth, I am no lawyer so I don't know if that would still be possible?

    1. Twanky Bronze badge
      Headmaster

      • implies
      • you're
      • libel

  16. Tim Worstal

    Musk would have won in an English court too

    Well, Musk might have won here too.

    The actual finding was that "pedo guy" is mere vulgar abuse, not a statement of fact. And mere vulgar abuse isn't libelous.

    Which is fortunate given my propensity for calling elected politicians c**t and worse.

    1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

      Re: Musk would have won in an English court too

      Musk might have won here too

      Couldn't agree more!

      Having been told to "stick his submarine where it hurts", mere vulgar abuse is a fairly light response.

      Musk apologised and deleted his tweet but, no, that wasn't good enough.

      Did Unsworth think about taking back his initial response and restating it in a less attention-grabbing way? Nooo "I'll go for the big-money man - he can afford it".

      Taking the big guy to court just because you feel hard done by is another aspect of compensation culture.

      Unsworth is one of those people who need to grow a thicker skin.

      .

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Musk would have won in an English court too

        "Musk apologised and deleted his tweet but, no, that wasn't good enough."

        No he didn't. He repeated it in a tweet, then in an e-mail as 'child rapist', thus removing his one defence of 'it's a South African insult', and then tried to hire a PI to prove it, thus demolishing his other defence of 'Just kidding'.

        He should have lost in the US, and would definitely lose in the UK where the jury wouldn't have been biased in his favour.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Musk would have won in an English court too

        Gotta talk about one thing here - that bloody submarine.

        For what it is worth, I am a cave diver, also trained in rescue and recovery.

        So, notwithstanding the awful footage I saw of it in a pool with "divers" that looked like they'd just passed their first ever diving qualification (example: the SPG danlging and dragging...good luck with that in a cave), there was no practical way it was every going to work.

        It was too large - too long for getting round the tight sumps and I suspect too wide for some of the narrower passages. I say suspect because I've not seen any three dimensional images of the caves, just the usual mocked up side-on representative graphics.

        It was utterly impractical from the get-go and anyone with any modicum of experience could have told the pedo guy guy that.

        Any rescue tends to be time critical but remember how they were pumping water our by the thousands of gallons at a time and the levels were STILL rising? Time wasn't on the rescuers side.

        Physical contact with someone you are rescuing can be a very important factor to alleviate fear and remember none of those trapped were divers or cavers so they'd be terrified.

        Those wonderful photographs you see of brightly lit, gorgeous blue caves from the likes of the cenotes in Mexico are down to massively powerful lights (multi thousands - tens of thousands in some cases) of lumens worth, with very highly trained divers that have near perfect buoyancy control so as not to kick up silt etc. and take huge amounts of time and patience to get just right.

        I suspect the water in the caves those boys were trapped in was likley less than crystal clear by that time.

        Someone with no experience swanning in and basically saying that they knew more than the qualified rescue team can expect to have their noses put out of joint.

        Beyond all that though, we've all snapped and said something we regret. The correct thing at that point is to say something like "You put my nose out of joint/upset me/whatever but I apologise for that silly comment"

        Not betting a signed dollar. Not sending emails to journalists and not hiring private detectives.

  17. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

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    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

      You left out a "Pedo Musk" in the middle ;)

      1. Bluehand

        Re: I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

        You spelt Paedo wrong...

        1. IGotOut
          Headmaster

          Re: I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

          'You spelt Paedo wrong..."

          That's ok, most people use the term incorrectly anyway.

          Most people accused of being a "Peado" are actually a "Hebe" or 'Ephebo"

          1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

            Found the lolbertarian..."what if the child consents tho?"

            1. Louis Schreurs

              Re: I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

              I did consent but still I am severely traumatised. NO TROLLING WHATSOEVER

          2. FraK

            Re: I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

            Fuck off back to reddit

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

          pædo

        3. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

          He started it!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

      By extension, should his cars been known as p*** wagons?

      1. Benson's Cycle

        Re: I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

        Not only should, but I intend to refer to them thusly in future.

        Pedovan Model 3.

        1. Louis Schreurs

          Re: I think pedo Musk may come to regret this

          Pedo X

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Also Not A Surprise Outcome...

    ... in a country who's elected president has expressed a fantasy about being balls-deep in his own daughter.

    "Pedo-Guy" is probably seen as a badge of honor by many groups of 12 Angry Men.

  19. Garymrrsn

    Role Models

    High profile people like Musk will be the downfall of "civil"ization.

  20. IGotOut

    Oddly....

    I asked a South African I work with about this and he said it means the same to him as it does to most of us in the UK.

    1. First Light

      Re: Oddly....

      I looked it up in a few South African newspaper comments sections and people who claimed to be from his area/went to his high school said that the phrase *was* used in the 80s, though maybe not so very commonly.

      There are regional variations in language, including insults, I'm sure there are some northern English insults that don't get used in the South and vice versa. So it's not that surprising that a phrase used in one region might not be used elsewhere in the same country.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Oddly....

        "I looked it up in a few South African newspaper comments sections and people who claimed to be from his area/went to his high school said that the phrase *was* used in the 80s, though maybe not so very commonly."

        You want a list of things that kids used a school in the 80s, that I definitely wouldn't call people now? We will start with flid, which is short for Thalidomide. The various forms of spastic, spacca, etc., then all the racial ones, up to and including a word beginning with N.

        "I said it thirty years ago at school" is really not an excuse. Notice that there's no proof that he has used it to refer to anyone else than Unsworth.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oddly....

        Maybe the term was commonly used in the context of Errol Musk (Elon's father) and his stepdaughter, Jana Bezuidenhout. They had a baby together in 2018.

  21. Neil Maybin

    So can we now always refer to Elon Musk as ...

    "Paedo guy Elon Musk"?

    After all, it apparently isn't defamatory now. The courts have demonstrated that.

    This is a genuine question about how far this ruling can be taken.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: So can we now always refer to Elon Musk as ...

      You can't, because you are (presumably) not an American.

      We are the Greeks here in the Greek/Roman scenario. The most we can aspire to be is freedmen.

      British actors can work in Hollywood so long as they play villains, idiots, or people with personality defects.

      British engineers and designers can work for US companies so long as they don't expect to run them.

      Americans have freedom of speech; we have the freedom to be spoken about.

      At bottom it is all about the power relationship.

  22. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Brothel Creepers to Snickers Sneakers

    We didn't have any paedophiles in Scotland in my youth, back then they were known as kiddy-diddlers. It was one of the worst Thatcherite Satchi and Satchi rebranding campaigns, worse than Marathons becoming Snickers and 'Labour doesn't work'. Back when Andrew was a playboy prince, not a darkweb prince, and Sir Jimmy Savile would fix it for you.

    We had 'stranger danger' adverts on TV, 'Charley Says'.

  23. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Only In Amerika

    In America the MSM definitely accused a well-known entertainer of voluntarily undergoing a sex-change, with graphic details of the --- fantasy --- procedure.

    When the chap sued the judge sent him off with a flea in his ear and the journalists' lawyers to pay --- since in America to claim it is libel to infer a sex-change, means one is insulting America's most valued epitomes of FREEDOM! to choose, the transgenders.

    Invent, and re-invent, everything.

  24. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Will his next vehicle be...

    ...a pedalo?

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Will his next vehicle be...

      Upvoted, much better than my "pedovan".

      Model 3 Pedalo it is.

      1. AdendHy

        Re: Will his next vehicle be...

        So when is the PedoTruck due for release?

    2. Velv Silver badge

      Re: Will his next vehicle be...

      Hasn't he just announced the PedoTruck? Why else would you have dark armoured glass if you didn't want people to see the kids in the back?

  25. First Light

    Sigh

    American justice system BAD

    UK justice system GOOD

    I'm finding this theme in comments on recent Reg articles a little simplistic.

    The plaintiff here did not make his case. There are many, many mediocre plaintiff's lawyers especially in California, who simply want to pay their bills. Taking a case that has no chance of winning is commonplace, as long as they can get a lien on your house or whatever to make sure they are paid. Especially when the defendant has "deep pockets." As someone who practiced law in NY and observed several cases in California, I can safely say the judges in CA allow many BS cases through to trial which would be dismissed anywhere on the East Coast. So please don't make simplistic analyses of why this case failed. Most likely the plaintiff's lawyers were hoping that EM would settle just to make the annoyance go away.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Sigh

      "So please don't make simplistic analyses of why this case failed."

      The lawyer said the following:

      Musk called the plaintiff a paedophile, multiple times.

      He used a different phrase, child rapist, in a separate e-mail, confirming that this is the meaning, and not a generic insult.

      He then later attempted to substantiate his accusation by hiring a (fake) private investigator.

      He only deleted the tweets long after the act, when it became clear he had committed libel.

      The facts of the case are as above, and the only explanation as to why the jury returned within an hour with this verdict is bias.

      And the UK system isn't perfect, certainly. It has its own issues with libel that are well trodden. But the US legal system is an international joke, held up around the developed world as one of the worst systems available.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        "The facts of the case are as above, and the only explanation as to why the jury returned within an hour with this verdict is bias."

        Considering the case, the profile and wealth of the defendant, yes, the jury did seem to reach a verdict rather rapidly.

        On a totally unrelated note, I wonder what the jury members recent bank transaction look like?

        1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Re: Sigh

          The only surprising thing about the speed of the response is that they jury didn't drag it out for another hour or so to justify potential media attention afterwards.

          Given the (appropriate) judge's instructions, the jury simply found that the plaintiff had not proven what needed to be proven, so there was not remaining case against Musk. Simples.

          1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

            Re: Sigh

            Doesn't make the jury right, just makes the judge wrong for thusly instructing the jury. Had Musk simply left it as a singular insult thrown in the heat of the moment, the decision would arguably be correct. But no, Musk then went out of his way to try to prove his original assertion. That's when it stops being an insult and becomes a libelous accusation.

            1. FeepingCreature

              Re: Sigh

              Trying to prove a claim does not add anything to the meaning of the claim. If I call you a cunt and then later on hire a PI to establish if you have, in fact, a vagina, this does not retroactively recontextualize the claim as anything other than an off-the-cuff insult.

              Presumably Musk thought it'd be hilarious if he was, in fact, factual in his random insult. That doesn't mean it wasn't a random insult at the time.

        2. Joe Harrison

          Re: Sigh

          On a totally unrelated note, I wonder what the jury members recent bank transaction look like?

          And isn't it weird they all drive the same type of brand new car?

        3. holmegm Bronze badge

          Re: Sigh

          "On a totally unrelated note, I wonder what the jury members recent bank transaction look like?"

          Believe what you like, I guess, but the idea that anything so blatant as that occurred is ludicrous.

          There is simply a very, very high bar to defamation claims in US law, probably because of our whole bugaboo about not letting government (and damage awards from a court are government) restrain speech any more than necessary.

          In this case, I can disagree with the outcome, but I can still see how it could happen. No fantasies about bribes are necessary.

      2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        There are actual explanations from jury people. But it doesn't suit your fantasy to bother to find them...

    2. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Sigh

      @First Light

      There are many aspects of the US judicial system that are better than the UK judicial systems. Swings and roundabouts, there are many aspects better here. We both have room for great improvement.

      If I publicly smeared a non-paedophile as a paedophile then I'd be gaoled in the UK. Understandably, because the victims of that smear are at risk of vigilantism due to my false statement. We have a wide variety of invective and inventive insults here.

      Vernon Unsworth was a hero who risked his life to save children, and was exhausted by his super-human effort.

      Elon Musk might have genuinely wanted to help, but to me, the world and my dog he seemed to be a billionaire trying to get publicity for a daft idea on the back of other peoples risk. The fact he inserted himself into that potential tragedy was forgivable, but smearing one of the rescuers was utterly, irredeemably immoral. Classic Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

      Musk's subsequent lies, demanding an apology from his victim, playing the victim, and then getting off in a clear cut case in court is indicative.

      It indicates Musk is evil. It indicates the eight jurors are either evil, stupid to the point of evil, or just plain corrupt.

      Vernon Unsworth is a hero. Elon Musk is a liar, a smearer and a zero.

      You know in Britain, this wouldn't be a civil case, this would be a criminal case and Musk would be in prison tonight for at least a year. Unless he bought our court like he obviously just bought yours.

      The monetary claim for compensation is a separate issue. Vernon could have been awarded a dollar and that would be just as just as $190m. The verdict is a sham though, and yet another stain on the declining idea of the the USA.

      1. First Light

        Re: Sigh

        Historically it has been SO easy to sue for libel in the UK that it gave rise to "libel tourism," as the UK became the preferred forum of Russian oligarchs, Arab oil magnates and US celebrities seeking to attack local journalists and media companies. Consequently, Parliament tightened up the laws in 2013. Maybe posters on here are so incredulous about this decision not because libel cases in the US (for foreigners or locals) are hard to win, but because libel cases in the UK have been too easy to win.

        To non-lawyers, libel means simply saying something that is untrue.

        To lawyers, and under California law, in addition to showing the statement is untrue, ACTUAL HARM to the person's reputation must be proven in court. I'm guessing the jury didn't find any. EM's comments about VU haven't changed my opinion of VU and make me think EM is pathetic and immature. VU is an international hero. Therefore, no harm has accrued and no damages can be awarded.

        I am not a supporter of EM, I am simply disagreeing with the binary notion that "US bad, UK good."

        1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Re: Sigh

          In addition to @FIrst Light's (correct) listing of the necessary criteria, the statement must be a provable statement of fact, not just an opinion. "Pedo guy" on Twitter is not a statement of fact, unlike, say, "Mr. Unsworth is a known pedofile".

          Much weight has been given to Musk hiring a PI, but facing a potential verdict of $190M, wouldn't you do everything possible to find out about the person with the greed to sue over what was, at worst, an exchange of insults on social media?

        2. TeeCee Gold badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Sigh

          It's worse than that. The UK courts have a long history of awarding libel damages for publishing stuff that is, er, true.

          Anyone touting the UK's legal system as the way libel should be handled is a prize berk of the highest order, as here it really is all about who's got the most cash to spend on lawyers. The finest libel verdicts that money can buy.

      2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        @Danny, in his effort to canonize Unsworth, seems to have forgotten Unsworth "stick it where it hurts" comment, which preceded the pedo guy comment.

        So why do you give Unsworth a free pass for smearing someone trying to help (possibly not very usefully), while attacking Musk for the same thing?

        Neither party smells of roses, and who, precisely, was convinced that Unsworth was a pedophile based on Musk's tweet? Oh, and bear in mind that only people familiar with Twitter should be considered (under libel laws -- the context of the publication is important, which is why satirical magazines can exist).

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Sigh

          @Malcolm

          Unsworth gets a free pass for his comment because he was risking his life in an extremely stressful situation (underground, trying to rescue children) and he knew all the factors.

          While Musk was safe in his penthouse or boardroom or whatever and to say he was trying to help is a charitable interpretation. It seemed to me at the time, as an observer, that he was just self-publicising. However even if you think Musk was trying to help then he should have shut up when his help was rejected. He should not have falsely smeared a man risking his life to save children as a child rapist. It's not equivalent, it's immoral and my only only confusion is why you can't see this.

          If I was a billionaire whose suggestion had been rejected, however profanely, I'd have stepped up and donated a million or so to fund the volunteers and the drilling of mine shafts that were going on. Anyone could have done that - nobody except the local poor and the local government did.

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Sigh

          "@Danny ... seems to have forgotten Unsworth [sic] 'stick it where it hurts' comment, which preceded the pedo guy comment. So why do you give Unsworth a free pass for smearing someone trying to help...?"

          Whilst you have made some good points previously, Malcolm, this is utter bollocks and I'm surprised you made it." Stick it where it hurts" is not a smear, as it says nothing about the character of the person on the receiving end of the comment. "Pedo Guy", on the other hand, is very much ad hominem. If anyone other than one of the American demi-gods (which is what these billionaires are - "The American Dream" writ large) twatted the same thing, *and then followed it up with more*, then it seems likely that the result in the same court, with the same jury, would have been very different.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if new Tesla cars for the jurors may have swayed their opinion ?

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    12 good men and true ... now brand new Tesla S owners and have the option for an upgrade to the Tesla Truck with 'un' breakable glass

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Electric Jesus"

    "pedo guy"

    Hmmmmm

    No, I prefer the Church of Electric Scientology.

  30. steviebuk Silver badge

    What!!?!?

    My faith in humanity isn't restored.

    How the fuck did they not find him guilty! Jesus. Although now with the fallout lots on Twitter are calling Musk what he called the cave diver. And South Africans are calling bullshit that its a South African insult.

  31. steviebuk Silver badge

    What were the jury thinking...

    ...I really would love to know. The evidence was insanely good for a guilty verdict. I wonder if it was like the time I did jury service in the UK. Deciding someones future. Should he be given prison time or not? Should he really be in a prison hospital instead? Lets discuss. No. One cunt said "He's guilty, that's it, I want to go home early". Should really have reported that inconsiderate cunt. Lets hope he's never had jury service again.

    They say its a lottery, wish I'd won the lottery that often. Got called up a 2nd time a few years later but got out of it.

    1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: What were the jury thinking...

      They were thinking, correctly, that the tweet in isolation didn't refer to Unsworth by name, and therefore wasn't identifiable as defamatory to Unsworth. You may choose to believe the evidence was good, but apparently the jury saw it as little different from two people shouting insults at each other in a parking lot. Remember, Unsworth wanted Musk to stick something where the sun don't shine, which is not nice, either.

      P.s. calling someone a "motherf*cker" doesn't defame someone even if they've never had intercourse with a female parent. Or a "c*cksucker" even if someone has never... etc.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: What were the jury thinking...

        Remember, Unsworth wanted Musk to stick something where the sun don't shine, which is not nice, either.

        And here you further show your ignorance. Done right it's actually quite pleasant tyvm. And for those who enjoy such things, 'sticking it where it hurts' can also be a pleasurable pastime.

        Being called a paedophile by some worthless twat is quite a different thing. People being told to "stick your [whatever] where it hurts" seldom get much hurt. People being labelled as a paedo, especially in situations where they may work with vulnerable people, often lose careers and sometimes even suffer real physical harm.

        I agree with others, musk is a vile piece of scum who if not in prison should at least be paying till it really hurts for repeating the claim. Once could be heat-of-the-moment. More than twice is not.

        As IP said, I'd've expected much better from you.

  32. Alan Johnson

    Bizarre verdict

    It is a bizarre verdict.

    The only possible way I can see it makes any sense is if the jury believed that Msuk has so little credibility that nothing he says is taken seriously but this seems a stretch given Musks profile, the fact he repeated and confirmed the accusation and the shear number of people who heard Musk's comments.

    The amount of damages is difficult, as compensation 190 M$is far too high but as a punishment for Musk's actions perhaps a little small so anywhere between 5 M$ and 500M$ would be arguably reasonable. Personally I think the damaes award should be big enough to cause serious hurt to Musk so 190 M$ was probably OK.

  33. steviebuk Silver badge

    Did they get to choose the jury?

    Like we see in American court room dramas and film? If so, how broken is that system. He had enough money he could ask him lawyers do go through the process and no doubt they'll have picked all the jury members that were biased. No one should be able to choose their jury members.

    1. SonofRojBlake

      Yes.

      Yes, they got to choose the jury. It went the other way than what you're implying, though.

      From the Guardian: "The jury selection process demonstrated Musk’s fame. Numerous members of the jury pool disclosed business ties to Musk’s various companies, which include Tesla, SpaceX, the Boring Company, Open AI and Neuralink. Four potential jurors were Tesla owners. One was dismissed when he said he could not be objective about the case because he was about to interview for a job with SpaceX, while two others were let go after saying they followed Musk on Twitter and knew the details of the case."

      Only one potential juror, an aesthetician, admitted to having strong opinions about billionaires. She was dismissed. Another juror had “negative and positive” opinions about Musk, and he was allowed to remain."

      FOUR Tesla owners in the jury pool. And wtf is an "aesthetician"??

      1. OssianScotland Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: And wtf is an "aesthetician"

        Isn't it "the profession formerly known as hairdresser"?

      2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: wtf is an "aesthetician"??

        She runs a nail bar? Sounds sufficently different from "Beautician" that the less educated might be impressed and not immediately think of her as vacuous and narcisistic?

  34. fredj

    Now call the jurors the same, even the judge and let's see what happens then. I am not going to do it but someone ought to.

  35. chivo243 Silver badge

    Yep, He's a bully

    Seen them before, poor or rich families, didn't matter. The rich ones just seemed to avoid consequences better than the poor.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe Musk thinks the term "pedo guy" is a normal insult in South Africa because his own father (Errol Musk) had a child with his own stepdaughter (Jana Bezuidenhout), who is 42 years younger than him.

    1. First Light
  37. JDX Gold badge

    So we can safely all go on TWitter and call Elon "pedo guy" if we wish?

    1. JohnG

      Musk's lawyers would likely sue anyone who persistently and publicly labels him with the term "pedo guy" and in all probability, the same court would take the opposite stance to their recent verdict and decide in Musk's favour (again).

  38. tapemonkey

    Musks Pedo Guy Links

    It seems Musk is an expert witness when it comes to pedo guys

    https://observer.com/2019/08/jeffrey-epstein-death-elon-musk-tesla/

  39. TRT Silver badge
    Windows

    We need an icon for Pedo Guy.

    Obviously.

  40. This post has been deleted by its author

  41. Empire of the Pussycat

    hmm, that means it's ok to call musk 'pedo guy'

    going to be fun for him, and everyone else

  42. MrMerrymaker
    Thumb Down

    Unbelievable... Almost

    What a miscarriage, you almost couldn't see this coming.

    Almost.

    That jury couldn't judge their way out of a paper bag.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What went wrong here?

    It's fairly obvious. If the damage claim hadn't been so patently absurd, then he may very well have won.

    The second however, the jury were told of the damage claim amount, every one of them would have forgot about impartiality and thought 'That's just greedy, he's not getting that.'

    Really, there was no damage to this guys reputation as:

    A: he didn't really have one before this event in terms of the wider Joe public

    B: this minor bit of news around Musk's name calling was eclipsed by the good work he did helping those kids

    So if instead, he'd said damages of £500,000 which was to be donated to a child charity in Thailand or something, the jury would probably have gone with him.

    People are biased and emotive, and a jury is no exception.

  44. zeltus

    Instant justice

    This shows that when someone defames or otherwise, insults you, the correct course of action is to instantly punch him in the mouth.

    Shame really, the likes of Musk need a put-down every now and again, to help keep their feet on terra firma. 'merkin law has never looked very impressive for the hoi-polloi, and even less so now. Not that I'm saying UK law is any better... the richer you are, the "fairer" it is.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Instant justice

      If Twitter implemented a "punch in the face" button - which pushed a boxing glove out of your screen and into your face when anyone pressed the punch in face button - this would be a fine idea.

      People like Piers Morgan would have to abandon Twitter - or risk death. Which is no bad thing I suspect.

      Wlould the Secret Service have to leap between Trump and his screen ever second or so? They've had to fit crash mats in the Oval Office and maybe a trampoline for take-offs...

      I'm liking this idea. Although I got downvoted over 40 times on a post last week - so here's hoping El Reg don't get any ideas...

  45. TheBadja

    Pedo Guy Musk

    From now on, he can be known as Pedo Guy Musk - as by his own admission, "pedo guy" is only an insult, not defamatory.

  46. david 12 Silver badge

    I wonder how many posters here are shorting Tesla shares?

    I wonder if all the people here suggesting that the jury was bribed are really that stupid?

    Or just pretending to be that stupid because they like denigrating other people.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I wonder how many posters here are shorting Tesla shares?

      Elon Musk is a cunt.

      Tesla are an interesting company with a bit of a cavalier attitude to either safety or truth. Depending on how you classify their "autopilot" claims.

      SpaceX are an amazing company who do very interesting technology.

      Musk is a bit of a shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy. Which would be all very well if he were willing to properly apologise when he fucks up, admit his mistakes and learn from them. But his case with the SEC and this whole "Pedo Guy" thing is fucking disgusting. His correct response was a full a proper apology and a large public donation to charity - not to sulk, self-justify and hire a private detective and hint that he had evidence that his allegation was definitely true and he'd love to face him in court. Where of course it turned out there was no hidden evidence and he was just acting like a cunt.

      There is no defence for Musk's actions. Although US law on defamation is not the same as here in Blighty so the jury may well be totally correct. Hence people are pissed off with the jury too. Though I suspect most of those comments are in the way of zero-evidence expressions of annoyance, such as calling someone a pedo on Twitter perhaps... Hence humour aimed at Musk for (if you'll pardon the repetition for comedy purposes) being a cunt.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: I wonder how many posters here are shorting Tesla shares?

      I'd rather short their shares than short their batteries.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder how many posters here are shorting Tesla shares?

      >I wonder if all the people here suggesting that the jury was bribed are really that stupid?

      Or are people that stupid that they fall for the Elon Musk reality distortion field, the guy's a first class wanker who is only interested in one person, Elon Musk.

      Also in the news I see another Tesla has crashed while on autopilot* into a police vehicle this time.

      *Autopilot suggests no human input required yet you have to keep your hands on the steering wheel because it's potentially lethal like MCAS, another fucking lie Musk should be sued for.

  47. Dapprman
    Facepalm

    Greed got in the way

    Vernon Unsworth got too greedy. Sure it may have started as a play ground spat, which he started, however Elon 'Paedo guy' Musk went too far with the repeated use and variations. Key thing is Unsworth could have taken Paedo Guy Musk to court locally or in the UK, but then he may only have received a token amount, instead he saw dollars, possibly was ill advised, and went to chase them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Greed got in the way

      >. Key thing is Unsworth could have taken Paedo Guy Musk to court locally or in the UK

      It costs an awful lot of money in the UK for libel action as generally QCs work for fees (of the eye watering variety) and not a potential slice of the payout as in the US.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Andrew, the pedo prince?

    Since it's not offensive or defamatory calling him a Royal child rapist online or in print is perfectly OK?

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Andrew, the pedo prince?

      But the reg is in the UK so might be different.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well that was quick..we now know how the trial was fixed

    Lots of blather above. From people unfamiliar with the workings of the legal system, both state and Federal, in the state of California.. Especially in LA. If you are rich and famous. And have some very very dangerous and powerful associates.

    This was a straight forward case of legal defamation. Lots of relevant case law. So the trial should have lasted much much longer, even for a civil case, and at the end it should have been the defendants team who would be next lodging an appeal with the next level of the system. Cases like this usually go on for years. Which is why they start with very large asks regarding damages. Those legal fees have to be paid somehow.

    The fact the case was over so quickly and went the way it did indicated that 100% that it was fixed. This is a very very unusual outcome. I'm hard put to think of an equivalent case in the last 40 years in fact. In these cases its either the judge, the jury, or the plaintiffs legal team that are nobbled. I was waiting to read the trial transcripts to see whether it was the judge or the jury that were the guilty party. The judge giving "sympathetic" directions and an easily directed jury foreman is the most straightforward route. But the plaintiffs lead lawyers very bizarre tweets the last twenty four hours tells me that it was a much more direct stitch up.

    Most of of you will be familiar Musks long career of business fraud and gross criminal negligence. Which has killed people. He is a bog standard criminal psychopath who has survived this long due to his very deep political connections at the state and federal level. Tesla is the posterboy for Big Green, which is worth many many billions of dollars in Cal alone every year. Maybe $50B plus at the Federal level. CARB's green slush fund is almost $2B per year. No questions asked. Plus huge amounts of political capital are invested in EV's. A lot of political careers ride on this. So a lot of very big political names, who get kicksback one way or another from Big Green, have been running defense for Tesla and Musk for most of the last decade. Just look at the multiple CARB scandals over the years and to see what the pols will do to protect there own. Environment be damned. This is all about money and power. The fact that EV's and renables are all a very expensive scams is irrelevant in the bigger scheme of things. The greenies get their self righteousness kick and Big Green walks off with the loot.

    But most will be unfamiliar will The 'Biz gossip in LA. For Musk live in Bel Air and hangs out with the very druggie end of the The Biz set. Very much the second tier, the HasBeens and the Nobodies. Typical Bel Air. Because you cannot take the Zeph' out of soutpiels like Musk he never did make it to hanging out with the top tier people. As a serious druggie Musk knows lots of dealers. Not just dealers but the serious Narco's from across the fence. Musk is very good buddies with some of the biggest and most brutal drug lords in Mexico. The people who would no think twice about gunning down the whole family, including children, of a journalist to kill a story. Which they have several times. Musk is very good friends with the top players in Mexicos current Narco Wars. Which kills tens of thousand of people every year.

    So my best guess at the moment is that a very polite and business like meeting was organized by Musks people with the plaintiffs legal team, or lead lawyer. With some representatives of Musk powerful "friends" sitting in quietly in the background. No overt threats were made, never are, but the plaintiffs lead lawyer is no fool and he would have got the message loud and clear. This was very much a case to lose. For health reasons. So it was.

    This might all sound completely outlandish to those personally unfamiliar with how things work, and have always worked, in La La Land. But those of you with direct experience of the very whacky world that is the Southlands will just nod your heads sagely saying, yeup, that just how it works. And will have their own equally "interesting" stories to tell.

    There actually was nothing that unusual about the OJ Simpson trail and its outcome by local standards. The only unusual thing about the trial was that the rest of the world was paying attention and noticed.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can the reg please replace Elon Musk's name with "pedo guy" in all future articles?

    Because:

    1) He's obviously fine with.

    2) He is creepy.

    3) At 48 he's arguably old... older than me anyway.

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